Celtic secured a third straight Scottish Premiership win with an emphatic 4-0 victory at St Mirren to cut the gap to league leaders Rangers to 18 points.
Neil Lennon’s side gained revenge for their 2-1 defeat at the hands of St Mirren at Celtic Park less than two weeks ago and Tom Rogic opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
The visitors were made to wait for a second goal but three came along in very quick succession with Odsonne Edouard (79) getting the ball rolling from the penalty spot after Greg Taylor was brought down in the area by Ryan Flynn.
Two goals in as many minutes from substitute Ryan Christie (82) and David Turnbull (83) wrapped up a comprehensive victory as Celtic, who still have a game in hand, made a small inroad into Rangers’ substantial lead at the top.
Four goals without reply for the 𝑪𝒆𝒍𝒕𝒔 in Paisley! 🤝#STMCEL 🟢⚪️ pic.twitter.com/47o3RXKBOZ
The one downside for the visitors also came in the second half when defender Stephen Welsh, 21, was taken off on a stretcher after a challenge by Saints striker Jon Obika.
Meanwhile, St Mirren stay sixth.
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Scottish Premiership fixtures | results | table
How Celtic gained revenge on St Mirren…
The reigning champions had lost 2-1 to the Buddies at the end of last month with Lennon admitting it was the lowest point of his two spells as boss, but this game demonstrated the improvement since.
St Mirren showed some confidence in a hurly-burly start to the match and Jamie McGrath flashed a shot wide of the target from 20 yards.
He had to be taken off in the 13th minute after injuring his shoulder in a tussle with Welsh and was replaced by Kyle McAllister.
Just seconds after the Saints substitute came on, Hoops defender Jonjoe Kenny combined with Rogic and the Australia midfielder worked a yard of space for himself inside the box before curling a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
Celtic’s start to the second half was purposeful and midfielder Callum McGregor drove wide from 20 yards.
Edouard’s close-range shot from a Rogic pass was put round the post by the foot of Alnwick, who made a decent save from Turnbull’s long-range effort.
The Parkhead men increased the tempo further and Turnbull and Rogic came close with drives.
Jak Alnwick returned to the St Mirren goal after a suspension with Ryan Flynn and Dylan Connolly also reinstated, while the visitors were unchanged.
In the 64th minute Obika was booked by referee Don Robertson for a late challenge on centre-back Welsh who was taken up the tunnel on a stretcher, replaced by Shane Duffy, with Christie on for Albian Ajeti.
Celtic’s second goal came after Robertson pointed to the spot when Flynn tackled Hoops left-back Greg Taylor inside the box.
Edouard slammed in the penalty and was immediately replaced by Patryk Klimala but it was Christie who skilfully curled in a third from inside the box after taking a pass from Rogic.
Moments later, with Saints’ heads down, Turnbull latched on to a pass from Christie and knocked in a fourth for a well-deserved three points.
What the managers said…
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: “I don’t have any complaints about Celtic winning, they were the better team on the night. First 45 minutes I thought there wasn’t a great deal in it. We were disappointed with the goal that we lost; we spoke about not allowing Rogic to come in on that left foot before the game.
“Really disappointed with the second half, we just weren’t at the same level as in the first half, we looked as if we lost our way a bit, lack of discipline in terms of the overall shape of the team and we were allowing Celtic too much space and time on the ball.
“Celtic were excellent and caused us a lot of problems, albeit we were still well in the game up until about 80 minutes. To lose those three goals was extremely disappointing. We’ve got a lot of credit of late for our overall performances but tonight we were very poor and we’ve got to hold our hands up.”
Celtic boss Neil Lennon: “It’s outstanding. We weren’t great first half, unforced errors on the ball, scored a great goal from the best player on the pitch in Tom Rogic.
“I had a few words with them at half-time and second half they were unbelievable, and we could have won the game by a lot more when you think of the chances we created.
“We looked far more like ourselves second half, Christie came on and looked totally revitalised again and we looked solid at the back. Against a team who were in form, we’ve absolutely taken them apart tonight.
“Once they got the second goal, they really turned it on, they didn’t rest up. I think they wanted to put the wrongs of 11 days ago right.”
St Mirren travel to Aberdeen on Saturday; Kick-off at 3pm.
Celtic are back in action on Sunday when they host St Johnstone, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event from 11am; Kick-off at 12pm.
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